Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You are important for others

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the
other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a
space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about
each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment,
and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each
student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone
else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the
entire class was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I
never knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't
know others liked me so much,' were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She
never knew if they discussed them after class or with their
parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished
its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one
another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and
his teacher attended the funeral of that special student.
She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome,
so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One
by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The
teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer
came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked. She
nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together
to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously
waiting to speak with his teacher.

'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet
out of his pocket 'They found this on Mark when he was
killed. We thought you might recognize it.'

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of
notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and
refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that
the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good
things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As
you can see, Mark treasured it.'

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie
smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's
in the top drawer of my desk at home.'

Chuck's wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding

'I have mine too,' Marilyn said. 'It's in my

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her
pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and
frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all
times,' Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she
continued: 'I think we all saved our lists'

That's when
the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and
for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that
life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day
will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for,
that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is
too late.

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